Wollongong Metal Massacre (Wollongong, NSW)

15 March 2014 at Dicey Riley’s Hotel
After having been to oh so many gigs in Sydney in the last months, we continue our new venture and take little trips to other NSW locations known for their Metal. Conveniently, Metal-Roos partner Deathmass Promotions organized a gig in Dicey Riley’s – so Wollongong it was. As Wollongong bands Metreya, LORD, Rampage, Black Reign come to my mind… oh, and New Blood – a band, I have heard a lot about but is still on my to-see-list. I’m lucky as New Blood are headlining the show.

First things first and that is Cryptic Scorn. I have seen them already in Sydney, just a few months after they tragically lost their bassist Jay. Since then, Cryptic Scorn have released an EP, came to the final rounds in Emergenza and changed their line-up… so a lot has happened. Singer Kenny’s distinct guttural voice, however, has stayed the same. The mix between old school metal and death has stayed the same as well – and that is a very good thing.

Dead-Life, the next band, certainly had changed something quite noticeable – their singer. On the stage was (for me) surprisingly not their previous singer Chuck but Exekute’s singer Fred. Chuck had been quite expressive but Fred was known for a stage show as well. For this show though, he stuck to some serious head banging but keeping his shirt on and not attempting any stage dives… did Fred really mature that quickly? Or was he thrown off track by some patrons of the Irish Pub which had lost track from their Paddy’s Day celebrations and had joined the metal massacre with their green lucky clover hairbands? In any case, Dead-Life has done well with their new choice of singer as Fred has a good Death Metal voice and knows his grunts. The metallers from Penrith play – according to their FB profile – Twisted Metal. Sounds good – have a listen when you can… shouldn’t be too hard as they play quite a lot of shows.

Next band, Hematic, has taken interesting turns in the Melodic part of their Melodic Death Metal. Bassist Jason is doing quite a bit of the melodic singing while Adam grunts and screams. The melodic part sounds a lot more like rock ballad than metal but I actually liked it. The contrast between the two voices makes it interesting. Deathmass Promotions manager Rob plays the lead guitar for Hematic and copes with the ballad-ish parts as well as with the speedy, brutal death parts. Hematic has their debut album “Ace Of Cups” out where you can listen to what I’m trying to describe here.

Very good musical craftsmanship are Inhuman Remnants delivering as well. The Death/Grind 4 piece from Canberra play their instruments fast but with such precision that I had to just watch their hands for some time. Inhuman Remnants singer Dave completed the odd but very good band, staying off stage for the whole performance, making the most interesting and yet-to-decide-if-funny-jokes which he apparently came up with during the 3 hour drive from Canberra… and singing… if you can describe this as singing… slaughtering words and tones in the schizophrenic change between screams and grunts with impressive vocal perfection. They are launching their album in the coming week together with a companion ACT band, Aeon of Horus.

And then… last but of course not least… New Blood! They brought their own sound guy and took quite a while to set up, tune and mentally prepare. Once they started, the hassle seemed suddenly worth it. New Blood appear quite professional and produce a hell of a sound. 5 guys making the Wollongong Metal Massacre peak, scream and head bang. Attack! “Brutal technicality” says Metal As Fuck and I can only agree. I’m left without words while the crowd demands an encore.

Line-up: New Blood, Inhuman Remnants, Hematic, Dead-Life, Cryptic Scorn

Reviewer: Anja